ON THIS THIRD SUNDAY IN THE SEASON OF EASTER we must remind ourselves that we have all travelled the road to Emmaus. In one way or another at some time we have all had our hopes and dreams dashed. We are the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). Christ joined us on the road and opened up the Scriptures to us so that we could see our cross or our dashed hopes taken up in the plan of God. We spent the evening with Christ on Holy Thursday – the Mass of the Lord’s Supper – and we recognized Him in the breaking of bread then as we do at every Mass. Now we too say, “The Lord has truly been raised” (Luke 24:34). We know Christ is present with us. Christ is not just present but transforms us, renews us, recreates us just as He restored hope and joy once again in the disciples on the road to Emmaus. The Paschal Candle reminds us that this happened once again when we experienced Christ in a special way during the Easter Vigil. The light on the top of the Paschal Candle, the light of Christ brightening our lives as the light of the world, is that last word of Christ. What a difference the presence of Christ made in the lives of those two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Before meeting Christ on the road they were going away from Jerusalem, their eyes were downcast, they had been hoping for the redemption of Israel, they stopped their journey because day was almost over. But after meeting Christ they returned to Jerusalem where they had just left, their eyes were no longer downcast but opened, instead of dashed hopes for the redemption of Israel their hearts burned within them, and even though they had stopped the journey when nightfall approached they now set out at once to return to Jerusalem. That is the difference that the presence of Christ makes when we focus on Christ instead of getting overwhelmed by life’s difficulties. We encounter Christ every time we celebrate the Eucharist just as the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. The Scriptures are proclaimed and explained in the light of Christ. Our eyes are opened to a new way of looking at reality by the Word of God. We recognize Christ in the breaking of bread, the true and real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. This does not mean that Christ is not present in other ways because we see Christ also present in the ministry of His apostles. The real presence means Christ is present in the fullest sense in the Eucharist, substantially present, in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. That explains why Pope Benedict XVI in his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini reminds us that we honor Sacred Scriptures and the Eucharist with the same reverence though not with the same worship:
From these accounts it is clear that Scripture itself points us towards an appreciation of its own unbreakable bond with the Eucharist. “It can never be forgotten that the divine word, read and proclaimed by the Church, has as its one purpose the sacrifice of the new new covenant and the banquet of grace, that is, the Eucharist” [Ordo Lectionum Missae, 10]. Word and Eucharist are so deeply bound together that we cannot understand one without the other: the word of God sacramentally takes flesh in the event of the Eucharist. The Eucharist opens us to an understanding of Scripture, just as Scripture for its part illumines and explains the mystery of the Eucharist. Unless we acknowledge the Lord’s real presence in the Eucharist, our understanding of Scripture remains imperfect. For this reason “the Church has honored the word of God and the Eucharistic mystery with the same reverence, although not with the same worship, and has always and everywhere insisted upon and sanctioned such honor. Moved by the example of her Founder, she has never ceased to celebrate his paschal mystery by coming together to read ‘in all the Scriptures the things concerning him’ (Lk 24:27) and to carry out the work of salvation through the celebration of the memorial of the Lord and through the sacraments”. (Verbum Domini, 55)
We have all travelled the road to Emmaus at some time as we had our hopes and dreams dashed. But what a difference the presence of Christ makes in our lives. Our eyes are opened to a new way of looking at reality by the Word of God. We recognize the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Christ transforms us, renews us, recreates us just as He restored hope and joy once again in the disciples on the road to Emmaus.
- BISHOP’S ANNUAL APPEAL: This weekend we begin in earnest the Bishop’s Annual Appeal for our Diocese and our Cathedral Parish. Full details of the campaign are included in this bulletin. My hope and prayer is that every registered person/family contribute to the BAA this year, recognizing the physical upgrades and needs of our Cathedral parish of which we fondly call our home.
- FIRST HOLY COMMUNION: Congratulations to Sydney Thornock and Jessica Buck who make their First Holy Communion this Sunday – a major step in their sacramental and faith lives.
- CONGRATULATIONS NEWLY-ORDAINED DEACONS OF THE DIOCESE: Rev. Mr. Anthony Davis (Saint Joseph Parish, Dover) Rev. Mr. Thomas Gardner (Saint Catharine of Siena Parish, Columbus); Rev. Mr. Dcn. Michael Hartge (Saint Matthew Parish, Gahanna); Rev. Mr. Brian O’Connor (Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Pickerington); and Rev. Mr. Nichola Ventura (Saint Mary Parish, Lancaster).
-Fr. Mike Lumpe